In this article I want to emphasize how God does want to do good things for us. We can believe this even in the face of terrible pain we may have been suffering, for reasons I outline below.
God has made us in such a way that when our bodies and minds are not in a right way, we normally feel pain. Its also normal to feel pain when we suffer some kind of loss – financial loss, the loss of a loved one, or rejection by someone we like.
Perhaps you have a lot of pain in your life even now. My wife and I have faced some pain recently, and this is common enough. The first thing to realise is that pain is there for a reason. It shows us that something is wrong. Certainly something is wrong with the world. That is obvious. And sometimes that is why we feel pain. We also feel pain because of what others do – we see something is wrong with them. But if we are honest, we will realise that in many ways we are just like others. Many times something is wrong with us. God uses pain to give us a strong motivation to fix what is wrong.
If God did not make these problems painful, I think we would be pretty happy to live with them. We would accept destruction and disorder if they had no potential to cause us pain. So the existence of pain itself is a good thing. It provides us with a strong incentive to get things RIGHT, so that the pain can be removed.
God is very interested in things being RIGHT, thats why he allows pain. The Bible says about God that “righteousness” and “justice” are the foundation of His throne. So God is very interested in things being “right”. God wants us to have a right relationship with ourselves, with others and most of all with Him. To help us to have that relationship He has communicated with us through the Bible.
The Heart of God
The Bible says in 3 John 2, “Beloved, in regard to all things I pray that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.”
What God wants for us is for things to go well. He doesn’t enjoy inflicting pain on people for no reason. The word here translated pray can also be translated “wish” or “desire”. It is God’s desire that we prosper, that things go well, that we be in health. God is a good God. He loves us and desires good things for us – even as a good father desires good for his children. His basic desire for us is that we be healthy in body, mind and spirit, and even that we enjoy the fulfilment that comes from achieving great things. But even before all that, God wants our love as obedient children. He wants us to have the right attitudes, motivations, desires and thoughts. When we have these, it can truly be said of us that “our souls prosper”. When we don’t, God will use discipline, even as a father would. Please note the verse again, “I pray that you prosper and be in health, EVEN AS YOUR SOUL PROSPERS.” If your soul is not prospering – if your thinking is seriously wrong in God’s eyes – then He won’t be ready to heal you and make your life prosper. In fact, He might even allow a very painful thing in your life in order to get your attention. This he will do whether you are a Christian believer or not.
God said through the prophet Isaiah, “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land. But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword”. (Isaiah 1:19, 20). This verse tells us that God will bless those who are willing and obedient to Him – even to the point of giving us the BEST food to eat and the BEST things to enjoy. But it also shows that there are some people who know God well enough that God will even let them be killed if they steadfastly refuse to listen or obey God. Before it gets to this stage however, usually less drastic means are employed by God. In this passage God was dealing with a very stubborn people who already knew His law, and knew what He had done for them. God will not speak like this to people who have never known His works, or His commandments or His nature. But He will permit suffering in people’s lives so they may not remain content to live their lives in ignorance of the true God.
Perhaps you have suffered a terrible loss. I want to assure you that God is not against you. He can restore your situation. But He wants you to stop ignoring His Word. To truly prosper from now on you are going to need to pay attention to God’s Word.
Pain exists because somehow we are no longer in harmony with God’s divine will. Sometimes this is within our power to correct, and sometimes it is not. If we are willing to do our part, God will help us to correct those things which lie within our power. But if we pray in the right way, God will intervene to help make things right which we ourselves cannot fix.
Nothing is beyond God’s power. It is for this reason that we pray. The Bible says in Jeremiah 32:27 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” Our God created the Heavens and the Earth and has infinite understanding. Just by speaking He creates! He can do anything! But will He do something for you? Does He want to? The Bible shows that God wants us to prosper and be in health AS OUR SOULS PROSPER. For your soul to prosper in God’s eyes, you will need to learn how to think and how to live from God. God is willing to get involved with you and bless you if you will trust Him enough to sincerely ask Him to do so.
What I have seen in my own life helps to confirm this. Many times God has provided money or opportunities for me when every way seemed to be closed. I have seen what God has done for others, in healing them of their diseases. I’ve prayed for people with all kinds of diseases and God has instantly healed them. These things are not possible for me to do, but God can do anything when we invite Him in and let Him lead the way. I have found that these things have happened as fulfilments of specific promises that I have found in the Bible. If you find promises in the Bible and meet the conditions, God will do something great for you also!
When we pray we recognise that we need God. God likes people who recognise that they need Him. This is true humility. God does not like it when people reject Him and try to live their life without any dependence on Him. This way of being is very close to what the Bible means when it talks about SIN. Sin is the principle of disobedience, pride, rebellion, unbelief and ingratitude towards God which places SELF above God and usually above other people as well. If SIN is eliminated from our soul, then nothing is impossible to us because we are living in total harmony with God and our faith will be the same faith that is in Jesus Christ.
I encourage you to seek to know this God for yourself, to come into a relationship with Him. He has revealed Himself through Jesus Christ, who went about doing good and healing ALL who were oppressed by the devil. (Acts 10:38). Jesus showed us just how kind God can be to those who come to Him for help. No matter how bad your disease or how hopeless the situation, Jesus can turn it around if you call upon His name. Determine to know Jesus, be persistent in that determination, and you will see God’s blessing in your life.